Wins for Dublin and Westmeath in the Walsh Cup
Dublin 3-20 Carlow 0-18
Westmeath 2-17 Laois 1-12
By Paul Keane
Dublin remain in pole position to secure the last remaining Walsh Cup semi-final place thanks in part to a two-goal blast from Eamonn Dillon at Parnell Park.
With Kilkenny, Wexford and Galway all receiving byes to next weekend's semi-finals, two wins from two keeps Dublin on track to join them.
Dillon's two goals, both of which arrived in the 11th minute as Dublin opened up an early nine-point lead, put the hosts on the road while Donal Burke struck their third goal approaching half-time.
Mattie Kenny's side won't know until Thursday night and their final group game against Laois at Parnell Park if they've made it through to the semi-finals.
A win or even a draw on that occasion against the team that knocked them out of last year's Championship will be enough to set up a semi-final tie against Galway next Sunday.
Dillon's two goals and a series of points from free-taker Paul Ryan, Mark Schutte and David Keogh helped Dublin to lead by 2-6 to 0-3 after 21 minutes.
They then conceded 0-8 without reply, however, as Carlow upped the ante with placed ball expert Marty Kavanagh helping himself to six points in a row at one stage.
It reduced Dublin's lead to just one point, 2-6 to 0-11, but the Sky Blues responded with their own unanswered 1-2 burst to lead by 3-8 to 0-12 at half-time.
Dublin then closed out the win in the third quarter of the game with seven points in a row.
Schutte, playing just his second competitive game for Dublin since 2016 due to his switch to the football setup and injuries in 2019, scored 0-4 overall.
Former Down player Lorcan McMullan also impressed again with 0-2 as a dozen different Dublin players got on the score-sheet.
Dublin led by 3-15 to 0-12 entering the final quarter and the teams shared the scores evenly from there on as both managers took the opportunity to run in as many substitutes as possible.
Substitutions are unlimited in the competition and Dublin made 10 changes in total with Carlow making eight.
Meanwhile, Laois aren't out of the competition despite losing to Westmeath by eight points in the other Round 3 game.
Joey Boyle netted late in the first-half for Westmeath who built on a 1-8 to 0-6 half-time lead during an impressive second-half that yielded a second goal from Darragh Clinton.
The result means that Dublin and Westmeath are currently locked on four points though Laois could join them on that figure if they beat Dublin. But a Dublin drawn or a win for the hosts on Thursday would send them through as table toppers.
Dublin scorers: Eamonn Dillon 2-0, Oisin O'Rorke 0-5 (0-4f), Mark Schutte 0-4, Donal Burke 1-0, Paul Ryan 0-3 (0-3f), Lorcan McMullan 0-2, David Keogh 0-1, Andrew Dunphy 0-1, Fergal Whitely 0-1, Alex O'Neill 0-1, James Madden 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1.
Carlow scorers: Martin Kavanagh 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 65), Chris Nolan 0-4 (0-1f), Ted Joyce 0-1, John Michael Nolan 0-1, Paul Coady 0-1, Diarmuid Byrne 0-1, Dara Tobin 0-1, Aaron Almond 0-1.
Dublin: Sean Brennan; James Madden, Luke Corcoran, Andrew Dunphy; Paul Crummey, Daire Gray, Jake Malone; Fergal Whitely, Lorcan McMullan; David Keogh, Donal Burke, Ronan Hayes; Eamonn Dillon, Mark Schutte, Paul Ryan. Subs: Cian O'Callaghan for Gray 15, Oisin O'Rorke for Ryan 22, Gray for Dunphy 26, Cian Derwin for for Dillon 49, Alex O'Neill for Burke 52, Enda O'Donnell for McMullan 55, Cian Boland for Keogh 57, Kevin Burke for Crummey 61, Conor Ryan for Schutte 64, McMullan for Hayes 69.
Carlow: Damien Jordan; Ross Smithers, Paul Doyle, Alan Corcoran; Diarmuid Byrne, David English, Ger Coady; Richard Coady, Kevin McDonald; Jack Murphy, Martin Kavanagh, Ted Joyce; Paul Coady, John Michael Nolan, Chris Nolan. Subs: Sean Whelan for Joyce 42, Ed Byrne for R Coady 45, Garry Bennett for Doyle 45, Michael Malone for G Coady 46, Aaron Almond for P Coady 47, Cathal Tracey for Murphy 61, Adam Dunne for Kavanagh 61, Dara Tobin for Byrne 63.
Referee: Gearoid McGrath (Wexford).